Jerry Brown Pays a Surprise Visit to the CCC Board of Governors Meeting - March 7, 2011
March 7, 2011
Contact: Paige Marlatt Dorr
Office: 916.327.5356 Cell: 916.801.8300Governor Jerry Brown Pays a Surprise Visit to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors Meeting to Discuss His Plan to Put Tax Extensions on the Ballot; Urging Republicans to Let the People Decide.
Sacramento, Calif. - California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott and members of the board of governors today welcomed Gov. Jerry Brown to its March 2011 meeting. Gov. Brown discussed his reasons for wanting Californians to have the chance to vote on his proposal to extend taxes so community colleges, as one budgetary example, do not have to face cuts of as much as $800 million or more.
"The community colleges are important to our culture, our society and our democracy. It's about skill achievement. If you're more capable, you're a more productive member of society. Why not pay for that? I'm not asking my Republican colleagues to tax anything," said Gov. Brown. "I'm asking them to let the people of California decide. Do they wish to extend the existing taxes or do they wish to double the cuts that I've already proposed? That's a simple proposition."
The California Community Colleges is reeling from years of budget cuts. The demand for a college education in California is continuing to outstrip resources. Gov. Brown has pushed for a June vote to allow the state's citizens to either approve a five-year extension in taxes or to double the cuts already proposed to close the state's $27 billion budget deficit. If the tax extensions are approved, the California Community Colleges still face a $400 million cut which translates to roughly 350,000 students being turned away from the system in the 2011-12 academic year.
"The California Community Colleges is willing to do its part to help balance the state budget," said Chancellor Scott. "But the $800 million or more reduction that's been discussed as part of an all cuts budget would result in immediate and damaging consequences for students. It would be 'tragic' if a tax extension does not get on the ballot because reductions of this magnitude would mean more and more Californians will be denied higher education."
Brown stressed that the vote isn't just about taxes but also cuts. He cautioned that the question before the people should be, "do we extend the taxes or go with an all-cuts budget? This proposal has such a profound impact that I don't think the Legislature in and of itself should make that decision. To let the people vote on this was not just a campaign promise but a commitment to reinvigorate the people and let them offer their judgment.
"I'm hopeful at the end of the day that we will have this great debate and great election for this June and that Californians will vote to invest in the California Community Colleges and the other aspects of the state budget," said Gov. Brown.
Gov. Brown opened his time before the board by asking Chancellor Jack Scott about student transfer reform. Scott replied that the Student Transfer Implementation and Oversight Committee continues to meet and the transfer paths between the California Community Colleges and the California State University are in place and growing in number. Gov. Brown then asked about a reformed transfer path for community colleges and the University of California. When told there wasn't one, Gov. Brown pledged that he would get the University of California Board of Regents moving on forming a partnership similar to the one that will roll out in the fall 2011 between the California Community Colleges and the California State University. "I'll get the UCs on board," Gov. Brown said. "Let's do it."
For more information about the California Community Colleges and California State University Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act that was signed into law in October 2010, please visit the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office website at http://www.cccco.edu/ChancellorsOffice/Divisions/StudentServices/TransferArticulationHome/SB1440StudentTransfer/tabid/1809/Default.aspx
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation. It is composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.76 million students in 2009-10. Community colleges provide workforce training, teach basic skills math and English courses, and prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. The Chancellor's Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.